Friday, April 29, 2011


   susan ambrosino

hear the bell ringing bird song.
See the sun shine in grass blades
from deepest dark to the sunniest open spot.
Notice butterfly bush leaves hanging in every direction,
360 degrees covered in the space of one small bush.
Watch roses carouse flamboyant,
the trumpet vine relentlessly climbing your arbor
summer after summer
dripping orange amazements at your feet.

It was all there before you looked,
will remain when you turn away
to dream your life is a great sea,
you a wave moving across it,
the boats of each day passing
as they cut through the swell of you,
and are gone,
to dream you're a hurricane,
a big, heaving wind,
balancing over your head everyone you love,
everything you own,
on an eight foot square section of stockade fence
your wind blowing, your rain lashing.

You still have a 1960’s cylindrical metal box
with bright neon daisy flowers.
You continue to keep it.
It continues to survive your need
to throw out the old
bring in the new.
There’s always something that remains.

Monday, April 18, 2011


susan ambrosino

The drip, drip, drip of the kitchen faucet
is a calming, fluid, many sided drip
seeming to run along the musical scale, up and down
and you imagine sharps and flats in there as well
with an occasional mournful sound as in a minor key
but it's just a stainless steel pot left in the sink
with maybe a half inch of forgotten water in it

and you think how easy it would be to fall asleep
to this sound of dripping
especially on one of those nights when the mind won't quit
when you wish to be like the one single atom
you imagine never moves
at the very center
of a spinning wheel

then to rise and go about your day
feeling a happiness that makes you laugh out loud
to look out your window and notice the beauty
so incredible you want nothing more
then to die some distant day
almost empty like your pot
with the drip, drip, drip of all your wonderful memories
slowly falling away.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


  susan ambrosino

The storm comes, pulled by something
beyond its control.
The tree grows, though it doesn't even know
it's alive.
The lion keeps its cubs close, it has no word
for love.

Life is a tearing apart, then a binding together,
broken dishes and holding hands,
out on a limb and hiding behind a bush.
Floral gifts fool you. Wrong turns lead you.

A blank face is no face at all.
It's a balancing act,
take your pick, one toe or two feet.

You know happiness,
the indefinable condition you think you want
can be achieved,
concentrate, concentrate, concentrate
by letting go,
relax the shoulders, the mind, find the soul.

From the ladder, to the mountain, to the sky so purple and pink,
you finally stop to blink.

Creativity needs flaws or you're just a technician.
A touch of madness is a gift.
Most wouldn't know what to do with it. You must have
freedom first,
no one to check up on you.

Chickweed in the garden is a problem the whole town
is having, not just you.

Animals say nothing when they suffer, they go off
on their own, hide behind a rock, lick themselves.

You've had it good, makes you wonder, what
you're gonna get when it all comes home.

You celebrate your birthday, but what
about your death day ?

The wind just blows and blows, the rain
comes down and down.
You always have a splendid supply of candles.

If you become mellow enough will you rot ?
The expressionless face as seen from the outside,

is only a face,
evoking what ?

Monday, April 11, 2011


  susan ambrosino

You find yourself looking through the church doors
of your kitchen window many times each day, watching
for saints in the altar of your garden,
and each time you look
you enter from your own state of mind.

You always knew the footprints in the sand
were really your own,
perhaps they belonged to the 'future you' walking backwards.
What is time anyway ?
perhaps just rain sliding down the window glass.

You've turned your back on the sadness
of your mother's unmade bed in the late afternoon,
the trash television and sourdough pretzels with lots of salt,
knowing 'muffintop' was just colloquial denial for
not doing anything about it.

Then your desire of 15 years ago is fulfilled by your
daughter asking you to come to church with her,
except it's too late, you don't want that anymore,
you'd rather she walked through the trees with you,
it feels so nice to think she's entering that place where you were
when you went to church,
and that's good,
so you go
and you smile,
you sing Sanctus! Agnus Dei ! Gloria !
the whole falling down on your knees thing.

Funny thing, time !
you take a step backwards to pull your darling

and you take a step forward

Saturday, April 9, 2011


 susan ambrosino

Somebody is alone,
drifting down the wide river in a small boat,
seized by the reckless beauty
of a teenager's desire to drop out of school,
turn and walk away,
garbage can overflowing.

Somebody trips over tree roots,
lands on hands and knees,
plummets down a well,
Somebody stands in the sun,
bends, lifts, leans, pivots,
is so pitiful in fragility, so amazing in resilience.

Pizza and white wine…. pasta and red,
sloshy head and stomach full,
somebody moves on
into the insect noise keeping night air alive.

Somebody earned the freedom to take road trips,
peanut butter in the car, endless highway, cheap motel,
counting utility poles in groups of ten,
watching for cops,

limitless as heaven or god,
the soul,
the smell of lilacs,
weeping willows in August,

limitless as listening to water drip,
hours spent in the hammock.

Somebody is moving through trees,
wondering if anyone sees the earth's fear of humans spreading
across its flesh.

But somebody must be back in time for Macy's ½ day sale
which ends at 1pm.

Somebody persists and persists.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


 susan ambrosino

But what does it mean to be able to say:
You can be there, every Wednesday,
from this one on into the future of many Wednesdays,
you will continue to come and be there,
be present, and participate,
do it, and practice ?
Something else must have ended.
Wednesdays must have become suddenly
And is that a good thing
as things come and go
as Wednesdays come and go
and change ?
Very long ago it used to be that Wednesday
was a short day of school
followed by a long afternoon of catechism class.
Then Wednesday meant the week was half over
or the day to put the recycles out
or a day of no work if you worked on Saturdays
or the day to pick up your unemployment check,
the day you attended poetry class, Shakespeare, or English literature.
Most important of all, it just occurs to you,
Wednesday was the day your daughter was born.
But that was only one Wednesday.
And now Wednesday’s are free again.
You are free to be present and practice,
do it and participate,
on a Wednesday.
There still is Monday and Tuesday, and Friday and Saturday,
But now you have Wednesday back too…..
And you realize Wednesday has become your soul,
your soul, which is so often lost,
then found again, then lost again,  
only to be discovered hiding in a basement room with no windows,
many damp smells, spiders crawling around,
hoping someone finds it, perhaps on a Wednesday,
brings it a sandwich,
asks it to come upstairs for awhile, have a talk.
The soul goes upstairs, whistles to the mind and body to follow,
It tries to start over, wakes up each Wednesday, believes in itself,
believes in Wednesday again, gives itself a hug,
goes on its way
out the door


 susan ambrosino

To be viewed from the great height of old age
like your father's bones in a Bronx cemetery
the damage done long ago persists for decades,
one wall-eye veering off the wrong way
like the direction his life took
picking at the seams of her until
she came apart with a sudden wrenching.
Your Mother broke the dinner plate, cutting herself, in anger
his philosophy of life limited to hatred,
of blacks, rich folks, Jews, in-laws,
what he wasn't is what you've evolved into
the ominous presence of him too much for an eleven year old to bear,
but he died before he snapped you in two,
now your two beautiful olive skinned kids,
make you round again, seamless, without end,
you are the immortal protector,
you live forever in them, they go on because of you,
they dance for you now, make you  real.

Notepaper and computer screens don't argue,
poetry is a habit forming sensation,
a long aaahhh
hot milk salving your strength,
the carbohydrate comfort of pasta, bread, rice
a sticky metaphoric substance.
no one to raise eyebrows at you,
no one to drop a jaw with a silent Oh ! and change the subject,
no one to quietly turn away
no one unable to answer what you just said.

People remember what they want to remember,
they've all been there, at one time or another,
even those who believe they're strolling through a garden,
talking about the scents, the colors, the fresh air,
when you know they've no path, no gate, no way in.

Shelved books lined up in a decisive statement of who you are,
defined by what you've browsed, bought, kept, read over and over,
it helped you see the person hiding below.
Your Jean Paul Sartre novel now fallen into unknown hands,
probably sold for a quarter when you needed some cash fast,
but then, you reached The Age Of Reason ages ago.

You miss Silversheene, King Of The Sled Dogs, want him back now,

The sound of your husband's breath at night
announcing aliveness so close to you,
the sound of your name in a sharp whisper
Sue, wake up,
not to rise, after all, but to actually awaken,
though the world is full of chatter,
flawed human hearts taking pleasure in believing small lies of each other
for the pointlessness of winning or losing.

It can make you want to stop knitting,
leave the sweater draped over the couch, one sleeve missing,
never rake another leaf, trim another shrub, or pull another weed,
let the car run out of gas,
don't cook, clean, bathe, brush your teeth .…

Imagine the sound of  Beethoven's Fur Eloise  drifting through the room.


 susan ambrosino

you can’t believe you have him
a tiny grandbaby with ten toes
so perfect they look like little pearls lined up all in a row
and there’s ten fingers as well
little chubby stubs
so wide
it looks like he has too many fingers when he grips
a toy so hard
in his need to own it
to play
like never before anyone ever played
like nobody ever had a baby like this before
you had a grandbaby like this.